The Dinette Teller – 24. The Magic and culinary powers of Garlic

Garlic is the bulb of the Allium Sativum, a plant of the Liliaceae family, originated in Central Asia. A really versatile and a fundamental ingredient in many recipes

HISTORY

The name “Garlic” derives from the scientific name “Allium”. In the ancient world, the first mention can be found in an Egyptian medical paper where they considered it a powerful treatment against muscles ache, snakes poison, and insect bites. Furthermore, in Egypt, it was also used as a magic talisman. They believed that it could keep dead spirits away. Spirits that were presumed to get in the houses at night time, to kidnap the newborns.

We can find references to garlic in one of major ancient Greek epic poems, the Odyssey, where the Olympian god Hermes offered garlic to Ulysses to attain protection against the witch Circe’s spells.

During the Roman Epoch and the Dark Ages, it was considered a powerful amulet. They thought that the unpleasant smell could keep ghosts at a distance and even clean out the poison of a snake from infected blood.

However, during the Renaissance, the consumption dropped dramatically. The reason is that the wealthiest considered the smell to be too strong. Instead, farmers started using it as a natural source to relief pain.

Eventually, in 1858, Pasteur scientifically described this bulb as a powerful antibiotic.

ANECDOTES AND LEGENDS

The most renowned mythological usage of garlic is linked to the protection against vampires and witches. People use to put it garlands at the main door of their houses and above the bed on the 24th of June when witches were supposed to gather together at the huge Sabbath of the Summer Solstice.

HOW TO CULTIVATE GARLIC

The bulb is easy to grow because is very strong and can easily resist heat or cold temperatures. In general, it requires very little attention including a minimum of 6 hours of sunshine a day and a special fertiliser. However, it doesn’t need too much water.

Cultivated between the end of November and the beginning of March. The cloves can be planted in a soft topsoil, at around 3 cm depth and 10-20cm distance from each other. It can be harvested between July and August. There are different varieties, the White Piacentino, The Red Sulmona, the Serena and the Red of Nubia.

HEALTH BENEFITS

A natural alternative to control high blood pressure that possesses potent antibiotic, antiviral, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties.

It is also a very good source of manganese, selenium and vitamin C. In addition, it is a good source of other minerals, including phosphorous, calcium, potassium, iron and copper. Many of the perceived therapeutic effects of garlic are thought to be due to its active ingredient allicin.

The usage of fresh garlic on top of food can control the high levels of cholesterol in the blood. The consumption is recommended to purify the organism. It is useful to prevent flu and cold during the winter. It can also be beneficial for acne and other dermatological diseases.

Digestive and diuretic conditions can be treated making a homemade infusion: mix 5-10g of garlic with 1 litre of boiling water.  The infusion can also be made as a natural antibacterial.

Conversely, eating too much fresh garlic could cause bowel irritation and anaemia.

LET’S COOK

As we all know garlic is a common cooking ingredient that is essential in many recipes because of its distinct flavour. Preparing it in certain ways can boost both its flavour and health benefits.

Taste with Gusto brings to your table one of the most exquisite recipes of Garlic Patè. It goes perfectly with meat, fish or vegetables proving a delicate flavour to all your dishes. The unique taste and light smell of this spread have been achieved using a traditional Italian recipe, a natural combination of garlic cloves with a touch of vinegar.

 

Garlic Patè

Garlic Patè

You can add a spoon of Garlic Patè to give a boost of taste to any of your dishes. Here is one of our delicious recipes:  Crunchy Roasted Vegetables with Garlic patè

Crunchy Roasted Vegetables with Garlic Patè

Crunchy Roasted Vegetables with Garlic Patè

It can also be used to make a bruschetta adding a little of patè to a slice of toast bread and a drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil “Casa Cairoli” or add few slices of cherry tomatoes and a little bit of oregano on top: just amazing!

Garlic Patè Bruschetta

Garlic Patè Bruschetta

It is also one of the main ingredients to make Pesto, along with basil, pine nuts and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Have a look to our Basil Pesto or Red Pesto made with sun-dried tomatoes, celery, carrots, basil, nuts and garlic.

 

Basil Pesto

Or try our unique Pesto alle Cime di Rapa, made with a vegetable similar to broccoli and turnip peaks with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a touch of anchovies and garlic

 

Pesto alle Cime di Rapa

Pesto alle Cime di Rapa

Have a look at the online shop and explore our collection of spreads. Enjoy the innumerable health benefits of garlic, an essential culinary ingredient, in the most delicious way!

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